Cerebrovascular disease is a group of brain dysfunctions that is related to the disease of blood vessels supplying blood to the brain. Cerebrovascular diseases usually occur among the elderly or those who have a history of diabetes, a smoking habit or ischemic heart disease (coronary heart disease). Cerebrovascular disease /attack or stroke occurs when poor blood flow to the brain results in cell death.
Cerebrovascular disease symptoms
A stroke is associated with:
- Sudden numbness or weakness, particularly on one side of the body
- Trouble seeing or having double vision
- Loss of balance
- Severe headache
Causes of cerebrovascular disease
One of the causes of cerebrovascular diseases is diabetes. Similar to the changes produced in organs such as the heart, diabetes can cause changes in arteries supplying blood to the brain and blocking them. This results in damage to the brain and is collectively termed as cerebrovascular disease.
The major subtype of cerebrovascular disease in diabetics is stroke, where blood supply to the brain gets interrupted leading to tissue damage. Another minor reported subtype, in diabetics, is cerebral haemorrhage in which internal bleeding happens due to rupture of arteries in the brain.
Compared to non-diabetics, diabetics are 1.5 to 3 times more likely to suffer from a stroke and experience worse outcomes.
Simultaneous factors causing alterations in blood vessels induce damage to both large and small blood vessels of the brain. Additionally, evidence suggests a correlation between diabetic autonomic neuropathy and stroke in diabetes patients.
The chances of a stroke in diabetics is higher, in cases of:
- Age over 55 years
- History of stroke or heart disease
- Family history of stroke
- Blood sugar
- Blood pressure
- Body weight
- Blood cholesterol – high levels of LDL or low levels of HDL
- Physical inactivity
Cerebrovascular disease prevention / management
Just like the cardiovascular complications of diabetes, cerebrovascular diseases or strokes can be prevented by:
- Keeping your blood sugar close to normal
- Eating a healthy diet
- Checking cholesterol levels at least annually
- Checking your blood pressure at every doctor’s visit and keeping it close to normal
- Quitting smoking
- Taking prescribed medicines